Saturday, July 16, 2011 By: David Velten

Interesting Plant Supports

At Tower Hill Botanic Gardens in Boylston, MA yesterday I spent a lot of my time staring at the ground, intrigued with the varieties of garden plants, and wondering how their eggplants seemed to be untouched by flea beetles. Not even one hole in the leaves. How do they do that? It took me a while to look up and realize there was an interesting variety of innovative and attractive plant supports in the garden. Below are some pictures and descriptions that might give you some ideas for your garden.

We have all used the wire cages for tomatoes, particularly the determinate varieties like Roma. This is a picture of a wrought iron plant cage with a decorative top.

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There was a lot of creative use of “rebar”, i.e. reinforcing iron bar. The rebar was often painted bright colors or sometimes appears to have been chrome plated (silver paint?). This is a plant tripod made of rebar. Better make sure you get this securely tied at the top. If this fell over, there would be a lot of ouch! in the garden.

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Here is a plant spiral made of wrought iron, with a decorative top.

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Another plant spiral made from a central support of painted rebar with an iron spiral around the rebar. The climbing plant, in this case an indeterminate tomato pruned to a single stem, is tucked under the spiral as it grows.

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Finally, here are some plant supports made from painted 4x4 lumber with dowels inserted in a spiral around the post. That is a Gadzooks! zucchini being trained up the pole.The leaves are at least a foot in diameter.  Fruits are deeply ribbed and grey-green in color.

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I also saw frequent use of just a piece of painted rebar as a pole. If I had used rebar last year, my German Pink tomato loaded with two-pound fruits wouldn’t have crashed to the ground after the wooden pole snapped at the base. I also appreciated the use of copper tubing with caps sweated on the ends being used as poles. Another use for some of the stuff in the basement left over from past projects.

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